Other Amphibian of the Week

Greater Siren (Siren lacertina)


Common Name: Greater Siren
Scientific Name: Siren lacertina
Family: Sirenidae
Location: United State – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia
Size: 3.2 feet or 98 cm

The Greater Siren (and all Sirens) is found in the Southeastern United States. It is the largest of all the sirens, with some reaching over 3 feet long. Just like all sirens, they lack hind legs but they still retain their gills into adulthood. Not much is known about the biology of the Greater Siren because of their secretive nature as they hide in burrows during the day and are slightly more active during the night.



Frog of the Week

Smoky Jungle Frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus)

smokyjungle (2)


Common Name: Smoky Jungle Frog
Scientific Name: Leptodactylus pentadactylus
Family: Leptodactylidae
Location: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, and Suriname
Size: 7.2 inches / 185 mm

The Smoky Jungle Frog is one of the largest frogs in the world, with females reaching over 7 inches long while males are slightly smaller. The frogs have a long life span that can reach over 15 years.

Mating takes place during the rainy months. Females form foam nests that the eggs are laid into to protect them from the environment. Not all eggs are fertilized, when the tadpoles emerge, they eat the unfertilized eggs.

The super power of the Smoky Jungle Frog is its anti predator defense system where its able to secrete vast amounts of mucus when attacked. Besides the mucus being gross,  it is also toxic so any predator won’t want to eat them.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Amanda Zellmer

The goal of Herper of the Week is to highlight people from all walks of life who work with reptiles and amphibians and show their work to others. This month, all the Herpers of the Week will be women for Women’s History Month. This week’s Herper is Dr Amanda Zellmer, Assistant Professor of Biology at Occidental College. She leads the Occidental College Computational Biology Lab.

Dr. Amanda Zellmer’s research focuses on the utility and development of computational methods for studying spatial ecological and evolutionary processes, particularly in the context of conservation biology. Her work usually deals with amphibians but has done research on other animals. She also is very interested in urban salamanders and showing that their is wildlife in LA.

She earned her Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin. She earned her Ph.D from the University of Michigan.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Siberian Salamander (Salamandrella keyserlingii)

photo by Henk Wallays

Common Name: Siberian Salamander, Dybowski’s Salamander, Manchurian Salamander, and Siberian Newt
Scientific Name: Salamandrella keyserlingii
Family: Hynobiidae
Location: China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and Russia
Size: around 5 inches

The Siberian Salamander might be the most cold adept amphibian around. It can survive temperatures of -45 °Celsius or  -49° Fahrenheit. With this ability, the Siberian Salamander is the only salamander found in the Arctic circle. It able to survive these conditions by replacing its blood with antifreeze chemicals. The Siberian Salamander can be frozen for years and be “revived” after it thaws out.

Frog of the Week

Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita)

photo by Piet Spaans

Common Name: Natterjack Toad
Scientific Name: Epidalea calamita
Family: Bufonidae
Location: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
Size: 3 inches

The Natterjack Toad is widespread across Europe but rare in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The toad emerges from hibernation around March or April and then starts to breed until the start of summer. They are commonly found in sandy areas.

Frog of the Week

Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog (Hymenochirus boettgeri)

Photo by Mwatro


Common Name: Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog
Scientific Name: Hymenochirus boettgeri
Family: Pipidae
Location: Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Nigeria
Size: 1.4 inches or 35 mm, females larger than males

The Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog is part of the group of frogs referred to as the Dwarf Clawed Frogs in the pet trade. The Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog is the most common species of the Dwarf Clawed Frogs in the pet trade.

The Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog is an aquatic species of frog. They only come up to the surface every few hours to take a breath. Like other members of the family Pipidae, the Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog lacks teeth and a tongue.


Venomous Frogs

Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog by Renato Augusto Martins

We all have heard of poisonous frogs such as the Golden Poison Frog or the Cane Toad but do you know that there are venomous frogs?

What is the difference between poisonous and venomous? To be venomous, the animal needs to inject the toxin into the blood stream of it’s victim. Snakes inject their toxins with their fangs, scorpions with their tails, and stingrays on their barbs. A poisonous animal doesn’t inject any toxins, they just produce them. Lazy poisonous animals.

There are only two known venomous frogs in the world and both happen to come from Brazil. These species are the Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog (Aparasphenodon brunoi) and the Greening’s Frog (Corythomantis greeningi).

You are probably wondering, how do these frogs inject their prey? Fangs? Super cool claws? Well sorry to disappoint but they literally use headbutts to inject their venom. They have spines on their head that connect to a gland that produces the venom. How weird.

How deadly is the venom of these frogs?  It was calculated that a single gram of the toxic secretion from a Bruno’s Casque-headed Frog can kill around 80 people. It’s venom is 25 times more toxic than pit vipers from the genus Bothrops. The Greenig’s Frog is not as toxic but still like twice as toxic as the pit vipers. F

Greenig’s Frog by Carlos Jared

Meet Holly, the Fire Bellied Toad

Holly is another one of my fire bellied toad. She shares a tank with Skyler and Walter Jr. She’s the newest addition but I got her I think in 2014. Interesting story about Holly, when I lived at home, my dad left their tank cover open and she escaped. I couldn’t find her and our basement is a mess so I thought she would die. I found her 6 months later just hopping around. She is green like Skyler but a tad darker shade which helps me with telling them apart. She is also a little smaller.

Family Friday



Number of Genera: 4 – Dermophis, Geotrypetes, Gymnopis, and Schistometopum
Number of Species: 14

The family Dermaphiidae is found in Central America, South America, Africa. Members of the family have secondary annuli and annular scales. Like most caecilians, this family is mostly fossorial (live underground). Caecilians are an understudied order of animals because of their fossorial life style so not a lot of info is known about these guys.

The genera Dermophis is known as the Mexican Caecilians or the Neotropical Caecilians. They are found from Mexico down to Colombia.

The genera Geotrypetes is found in Western Africa and are called the Western African Caecilians. They occur in the tropics there.

The genera Gymnopis is known as the Wet Forest Caecilians. They are found in Mexico and Guatemala to Panama.

The genera Schistometopum is known as the Guinea Caecilians and are found in Kenya, Tanzania, and the islands in the Gulf of Guinea. These caecilians are viviparous.

Frog of the Week

Common Rain Frog (Breviceps adspersus)

wikiuser Ryanvanhuyssteen 

Common Name: Common Rain Frog
Scientific Name: Breviceps adspersus
Family: Brevicipitidae – Rain Frog family
Location: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Size: 2.25 inches long

The Common Rain Frog is one of the many rain frog species from Southern Africa. This cute, round frog lives most of it’s live in burrows underground. They are mostly seen after the rains when they leave their burrows to come to the surface to hunt for food and to mate. It’s the reason they are named the Rain Frogs.